Christmas Markets - from Budapest to Berlin


It's that time of year when the evenings are dark and Christmas is around the corner. If you want to get away for a few days in December, the Christmas markets of Europe are brimming with atmosphere, mulled wine, and strange biscuits.

Heidelberg

Heidelberg   Photo by: beketchai

Berlin
Berlin  Photo by: somaya

Deciding Where To Go

For the most traditional markets, head to Germany where almost every town of any size will have a market worthy of a weekend visit.

Alternatively choose somewhere that is already on your places you want to go list and kill two birds with one flight. Berlin has over 50 xmas markets. It has less of the chocolate box charm of some of the other German cities but with its wealth of sights, museums and nightlife at any time of year it would make a good place to go.

For stunning scenery and the hope of seeing some snow Its hard to beat Switzerland and Austria. Not all of the markets have centuries of tradition behind then but Innsbruck surrounded by the Alps and Montreux on the banks of Lake Geneva have the best backdrop.

For somewhere a bit different the Scandinavian cities are worth a visit. Their xmas decorations are typified by gnomes with long red hats, red hearts and red and white check ribbons. In Copenhagen, the Tivoli Gardens are taken over by a xmas village. With the additional attraction of the amusement rides there should be enough to keep the whole family happy.

The best value of them all has to be Budapest. It is also beautiful with wonderful handicrafts in the markets and an open air ice rink by the castle.

If you have left it to late to book or would prefer not to travel far, Birmingham's 'German' market will one of the biggest Christmas markets in the World with over 100 stalls.

TRIPlinks:

General

German Xmas Market Guide - Brilliant site covering lots of the German towns, including dates and pictures.

Flights and Hotels

RyanAir


* Hotels and Flights, Easyjet-Innsbruck plus 3 nights 4* hotel, £253/person.

Hotels from Booking.com* ,Budapest 4* hotel from £60/night/room, Berlin 3* £60/night/room.

Trains Across Europe

* European train booking site.

Tour Companies

Travelsphere's Festive Selection , Have a selection of escorted tours by coach from £189. 

Railbookers, weekend breaks by train.

Dertour, extensive collection of trips to the xmas markets of Germany and the rest of Europe

Great Rail Journeys have 4/5 day escorted tours by train with quality hotels and excursions.

Budapest
Budapest  Photo by: joobili

Getting There With A Budget Airline

If you are looking to save money this is the obvious way to go. At this time of years the offers are good, particular for those who can fly during the week.

Easyjet flies to  Copenhagen, Budapest, Prague, Munich, Vienna, Berlin etc. See the bottom of the page for the latest prices found on kayak.

Buying a Package

There are plenty of tour operators offering trips to the Xmas markets . The budget tours are by coach, and they are cheap, but it is worth checking exactly how much time you spend in the Xmas market and how much of the time is spent getting there.

The train alternative can be slow, with numerous changes along the way. It also tends to be more expensive than flying but if you have more time than a weekend its an interesting way to travel.

Alternatively book the flights and hotels together through someone like Expedia. The flights are usually competitive and include most budget airlines and you get a discount when you book them with the hotel.



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